Along with the merry-go-round of viruses that comes with raising little kids, you also receive an endless source of invitations to classmates' birthday parties. We receive at least three per month. We welcome the chance to get to know other children and their families outside the school grounds, and to see all the variations of party locations Madison has to offer. My standard go-to gift has been to pick out an age appropriate puzzle at Playthings, a locally owned toy store next to my office. I can walk there, select a quality gift, pay about $12, and they'll wrap it for free. Included in the card, usually home made, is a gift receipt. This worked fine until a recent invite arrived
Via email, no wasted of paper, came the invitation to help family friends celebrate their daughter's 3rd birthday. Included was the language "please do not feel like you need to bring a gift, if you do, used doll clothing would be nice, but please....no Plastic". I smiled, knowing the mother of the family well. Holding a PhD in a scientific area and running the statewide office of a national environmental group -- she rages against the explosion of harmful materials so common in the upbringing of children these days. I applauded her suggestions. And loved the challenge she'd given. My go-to new puzzle wouldn't work, what to do?
Time is the most precious resource in our home, and scouring second hand stores for doll clothes was not something I could easily work into my schedule. What to do? Then, upon pulling into the garage one day, I noticed two small terra cotta pots sitting on the shelf. Left over from a failed project with my kids, they needed a new home! Inspiration hit, and I pulled together this "think of Spring" birthday package for the three year old. Nothing, not even the bag were purchased. Now, some parents of young children may be offended that we did not pay enough respect and spend money on a gift. But not my friend. She'll be thrilled we did not trample Mother Earth for her daughter's birthday.
Gift complete, and I am adding 3 points towards our 2,015 purge of 2015. These were all items that were simply sitting around waiting for a new home and or use. Looking ahead, I hope to use this level of creativity for another gift. And it will be soon - our next kid birthday party is next Saturday!